Saturday, May 8, 2010


given time to surf the internet from my hotel bedroom is a real treat. One of my good friends from Peace Corps keeps a blog at:
a good friend from Antarctica keeps a blog at:

they both do a lot better than Alex and I at posting pictures.

I dunno

Hello from Port Vila, it's the weekend, Alex and I are hanging at the hotel. Alex finished up the HIV/AIDS training on Friday and starts a 3-day health volunteers' in-service training on Monday. I'm mostly spend my time staring at my to-do list that does not seem to be getting any shorter. Alex is about to start laundry and I might try to write a few letters.

We heard through the grapevine that our class (the 38 or so of us that arrived here together in early September) had it's first volunteer to early terminate - to quit and go back to America. We had a few classmates quit and go home during training, but Bob is the first to quit since we all headed off to our islands. It's sad, but good too, because if you didn't want to be there- it would not be very fun to live on a relatively primitive and remote island where you hardly speak the language.

Thank you for all of the letters and emails, Alex and I appreciate and enjoy each one to it's fullest. Here are some questions from recent letters and emails:

Tell me about your house.  Do mice get in regularly?  Insects?  Breezes? Views?  Too close to others?  Too far from the beach? 
We haven't had mouse issues as of yet. Our cat is quite the huntress and the house is new, so perhaps the mice just haven't found the time and opportunity to move in yet. We prepare food and eat inside the house on a consistent basis, so it's just a matter of time until we get our first mouse friends. The house is open to insects, but we don't get too many, we are near the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, which keeps things breezy enough to keep the insects down. We also have a massive flock of sparrows that comes around multiple times every day and feeds on our insect populations. Our house is not too close to others, which is a real blessing as most volunteers houses are too close (by our American standards) to others. The beach is just down the cliff, no more than a minute or two to walk there.

Have you been fishing? 
We have not been fishing. Our reef - we have a beautiful reef - doesn't seem to have a surplus of fish, I'm guessing this is a result of too much fishing. We want to go fishing, it just hasn't happened yet. One of my friends uses a cross between a slingshot and a bow and arrow to spear fish, I hope to hunt with him at some point.

Would you like a sports ball or two? or would they roll into the ocean?
Both soccer and volleyball are popular in our villages. Swimming is popular too, so a simple beach ball might be really popular. Have you seen those beach balls with a globe on them? Those are pretty cool.

We want to send you guys a package. We want to make sure to send you things that you can really use or give out to people and not clutter your life.
That's a tough one, always is; most things are available in Vila and Alex and I are easily cluttered. Pictures are at the top of the list, the Ni-vans love pictures and we love to have ways of initiating conversations when people come over to our house and we just stare at each other because we don't know what to talk about. Nice teas are a special treat that are insanely overpriced in Vila and light enough to mail without excessive postage costs. Alex suggest the idea of little sauce packets like one would find at a fast food restaurant, sometimes you want a little barbecue sauce on your taro patties but you aren't really up for cooking up a batch. We've never actually cooked up a batch of barbecue sauce at site, but that's because we're lazy, not because we haven't wanted barbecue sauce on our taro patties. I need giant pumpkin seeds to bribe my potential counterpart. Chocolate is always a treat and we like giving stickers to kids when we do health talks.

Do you feel real fluent in Bislama now?
Fluent, but not real fluent, the volunteers that have been here for two years are amazing and we envy them.

You may get a case of boxers from Walmart!  Would the locals wear them if that happens?
Yes. And that's funny.

How soon do you say goodbye to Port Vila?
Monday, May 17


Monday, May 3, 2010

hello everyone

Things are well, it's 11:58 on a Tuesday morning. Alex is helping to facilitate an HIV/AIDS training with village health workers at a church camp just outside of Port Vila this week. It's a week long training, mostly focused on education and prevention. One of the few people living with AIDS in Vanuatu is the guest speaker this afternoon.